Everyone knows you need to wash your hair to keep it healthy and clean. But does everyone know the best way to do it? What is the best way to wash your hair, anyway?
Here are some tips and tricks to help you keep those locks looking and feeling great:
The first of hair-washing: don’t overdo it. Too many women think washing your hair every day is a must, but it usually does more harm than good. Washing too often strips hair of its natural oils, leaving it brittle and prone to breakage. Overwashing can prompt your hair to overcompensate by producing more oil faster than ever, which leaves you back at square one.
So how much is too much? It depends on your hair type. If you have an oily scalp or very fine hair, shampoo every day. If your hair is dry, avoid washing it more than twice a week. Not sure where you stand? Most people will do just fine washing three times a week. Try stretching the time between washes by touching up with dry shampoo, and rock a top knot hairstyle on those days when your hair has more texture (read: grease).
This one’s a no-brainer: you’ll get the best results by using products that are designed for your hair type. Before you toss that bottle of shampoo or conditioner into your cart, check the label to see what kind of hair it’s meant for. Many products work well with most hair types, but it always pays to make sure. If you have a specific concern, like dandruff or damaged hair, look for a product that was specially created to help with just that.
Before you turn on that showerhead, make sure your hair is free of knots by giving it a few strokes with a detangler brush. Showering with tangle-free hair helps your shampoo and conditioner reach all of your hair and makes it easier to detangle post-shower without damaging your wet hair. Plus, you’ll cut back on shower clogs by getting rid of loose hairs before they can make their way into your drain.
In the shower, start by rinsing your hair with warm water. Shampoo lathers better on wet hair, which means you’ll get a more thorough clean while using less shampoo. Warm water opens your hairs’ cuticles, which allows the shampoo to permeate your hair and flush out impurities. But don’t scald your scalp—hot water will damage your hair and leave it looking dry and frizzy.
Squeeze a teaspoon or two of shampoo into your hands and let it mix with a little water before applying it to your head. Gently massage the shampoo into your hair, taking care not to scratch your skin. Focus your attention on your scalp and roots, where your hair is oiliest. Rinse well, making sure to wash all the shampoo out of your hair.
Apply a small dollop of conditioner (no bigger than a quarter) to the middle of your hair, working it down towards the ends. Yes, you’re skipping your roots—that’s as it should be. You want to moisturize the drier sections of your hair, not add oil to your already oily roots. You might be tempted to squirt gobs of conditioner into your hair, but exercise restraint. Too much conditioner will weigh your hair down and make it look greasy.
Your hair is at its most vulnerable when it’s wet, so be gentle with those freshly washed tresses. Pat them dry gently with a towel instead of scrubbing or wringing it all out. Detangle with a wide-toothed comb, not a brush. If you can, let your hair air-dry. Blow-drying is faster, but save it for special occasions because it will damage your hair over time.